Wednesday, January 11, 2012

From Bebé to Gourmet with Your Béaba Baby Food Maker

I didn't even have a toaster until a few months ago because we didn't have room for it in any of the tiny New York City kitchens we've lived in.  I toasted bread in a pan.  We still don't have the space, but my husband got me a toaster anyway because life is too short to live without toast.

So, when someone gave us a Béaba Baby Food Maker when Greyson was born, I wasn't sure where we were going to put it.  There were so many other kitchen things that I wanted before a baby food maker:  a crock pot, a panini press, a waffle maker, etc.

Although I thought the Béaba was a great idea, I couldn't justify getting a machine that does things that we have other machines for.  We can steam food on the stove and we already have a food processor.

The friend of Rob's who gave us the Béaba included a gift receipt from Williams-Sonoma, but we let that window of time to return pass.

What we did with the counter space taker-upper after the jump!

Greyson started solids almost two weeks ago and I've been loving the Béaba.  It makes baby food in the perfect quantities, so I don't have to wash big pots and a big food processor every time I make food for Greyson.

I started thinking, though, that I could do more with the Béaba.  Just because it's little and called a baby food maker, doesn't mean it's not a powerful cooker and food processor.

The first time I used the Béaba for adult food was when I needed bread crumbs.  I was going to tear the bread by hand because I didn't want to get the Cuisinart out of the pantry.  Then, a light bulb went off.  Béaba!  It worked like a charm.

Then, I saw a recipe for Jacques Pepin's Ricotta Dumpling with Red Pepper Sauce when I was at the gym last weekend.  I looked up the recipe today and it occurred to me that I could make most of it in the Béaba without any modifications to the quantities of ingredients.

Step 1:  Steam and purée the tomatoes and red bell pepper.  Pour the  to a sauce pan with salt, pepper and cornstarch.  I didn't bother with a food mill since I don't have one.  I just added the butter and then used my hand blender.  You could also just add all that stuff to the Béaba and skip the pot part entirely, I think.

Step 2:  Add all the dumpling ingredients to the Béaba and purée your heart out.

Step 3:  Cook the dumplings in a big pot

Step 4:  Plate, garnish with grated parmesan and enjoy!

I like the simplicity of this recipe...a few ingredients and a few steps.  It's delicious in a minimalist way.  A keeper!

Here is the recipe from when it was re-published in Food and Wine


  • red pepper sauce
    1. 1 small red pepper (6 ounces), seeded and cut into chunks
    2. 1 tomato (6 ounces), cut into chunks
    3. 1 cup water
    4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
    5. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    6. 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
    7. 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    8. 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • dumplings
    1. 8 ounces ricotta cheese
    2. 1/2 teaspoon salt
    3. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    4. 1 jumbo egg
    5. 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinking at serving time
    6. 1/2 cup flour
    7. 2 tablespoons minced chives


  1. make the red pepper sauce: In a saucepan combine the red pepper and tomato chunks with the 1 cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover and boil gently for 8 minutes, strain the puree through a food mill. 2. Return the puree to the sauceapn and stir in the salt, pepper, and dissolved cornstarch. Bring to a boil, then add the butter and oil and emulsify with a hand blender for 10 seconds. Keep the sauce warm while you make the dumplings. 
  2. make the dumplings: Bring 3 quarts of water to a simmer in a pot. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the ricotta, salt, pepper, egg, Parmesan and flour and process for 10 seconds. Transfer the dumpling batter to a bowl and mix in the chives. 
  3. make the dumplings in two batches: working as quickly as possible drop the batter, about 1 tablespoon at a time, into the hot water. Let the dumplings cook at a low simmer (180° to 190°) for ten minutes; the dumplings will rise to the surface of the water as they cook. Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon, drain well and arrange on a platter. Keep warm while you cook the remaining dumplings. 
  4. Arrange the dumplings on a platter or individual plates. Spoon on the warm red pepper sauce and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

Make Ahead

To prepare the dumplings ahead, cool the red pepper sauce and refrigerate it. Cook the dumplings through step 4, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them from the pot to a bowl of ice water. When thoroughly cool, drain the dumplings and arrange them in one large or 6 individual gratin dishes. Cover and refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving time. Spoon some sauce over the dumplings, sprinkle on about 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese and bake in a preheated 400° oven for 25 mintues, or until hot and bubbly. Serve with additional warm sauce and grated cheese.

Item recommended in this post:

No comments:

Post a Comment